The Artists


Dummy  –  RoboThespian
Edwin  –  Alphonse Nicholson
Atropos  –  Katja Hill


Creator / Director  –  Francesca Talenti
Scenic Designer  –  David Navalinsky
Lighting Designer  –  Kathy A. Perkins
Puppeteer / Robot Manager  –  Jim Bulluck
Stage Manager  –  Alex James
Software Designer  –  Adrian Ilie
Robo Explorer  –  Henry Fuchs

J. Alphonse Nicholson (Edwin) emerged as an actor and musician six years ago after his debut as the lead in Howard L. Craft’s Caleb Calypso and the Midnight Marauders. He has received numerous awards for his work on community and regional stages. Recent credits include : Dominique Morisseau’s Aumtun’s Harvest (Lincoln Center Theater), The Piano Lesson, The Whipping Man, The Minstrel, Henry 4 & 5: The Making of a King, The Parchman Hour, A Raisin In the Sun (Playmakers Repertory Company), BloodKnot (StreetSigns), The Brothers Size (Manbites Dog), Redghost, Harriet Jacobs, Jade City Chronicles Vol. 1., Our Town, etc.

Katja Hill’s (Atropos) acting and directing credits include for PlayMakers Rep, As You Like It (Audrey), It’s a Wonderful Life (Violet et al.), Private Lives (Amanda–U/S); for Manbites Dog Theater, The New Electric Ballroom (Ada), Rabbit Hole (Becca), God’s Ear (Lenora), Oh, the Humanity! (Spokeswoman), Act a Lady (director), Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All (director); for NC Symphony, Shakespeare in Music (Juliet, Desdemona, Helena, Beatrice). She has written and performed two solo shows. Katja received her training at UNC School of the Arts and is the winner of a Durham Arts Council Emerging Artists grant. The Uncanny Valley at the Brick Theater Game Play Festival is her New York debut.

Francesca Talenti (Creator / Director) has exhibited her work from Sundance to PBS National, by way of Mumbai, Göteborg, Casablanca, and many others.  She has received grants from the Independent Television Service, Latino Public Broadcasting, and the Kauffman Foundation.  Francesca has been trying to explode the rectangle to which the moving image is usually confined, and this has led her to creating media for live theater (video design for Hamlet at The Folger), interactive installations (Mishaps in The Kitchen, and The Bathysphere), and finally to working with a robot.  Francesca is a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she teaches media production.

David Navalinsky (Scenic Designer) is the Director of Undergraduate Production at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill overseeing all aspects of the undergraduate production season. David has taught at The University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Mississippi where he served as technical director and production manager. While in Oxford, MS he served as the Managing Director for the inaugural season of the Oxford Shakespeare Festival. David has also worked for South Coast Repertory, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Dallas Children’s Theater, The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Karamu Performing Arts Theatre.

Kathy A. Perkins (Lighting Designer) has designed throughout the United States, Switzerland, and South Africa. In New York she has designed for New Federal Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club and in such venues as Carnegie Hall and Brooklyn Academy of Music. Regionally, Kathy has designed for The Goodman, Alliance, Mark Taper Forum, Berkeley Repertory, American Conservatory Theatre, Indiana Repertory, Seattle Repertory, Congo Square, St. Louis Black Repertory, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Playmakers Repertory Company. She is the editor/ coeditor of six anthologies focusing on African/African Diaspora women. Kathy is Professor of Dramatic Art at UNC.

Alex James (Stage Manager) Off-Broadway: The Berenstain Bears Live!, Jay Allan Zimmerman’s Incredibly Deaf Musical, Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Other NYC credits: Infallibility (Fringe NYC 2013), SoundBites (Theater Now New York), The Untitled Ginsberg Project, A Lasting Impression, She Loves Me (Pace). Alex is also on the staff at The Brick as Finance Director. Graduate of Pace University.

Jim Bulluck (Puppeteer / Robot Manager) is a man. He operates the robot. He likes the color purple, but it’s not his favorite.

Henry Fuchs (Robo Explorer) is the Federico Gil Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at UNC Chapel Hill. He has been active in computer graphics since the early 1970s, with rendering algorithms (BSP Trees), hardware (Pixel-Planes and PixelFlow), virtual environments, tele-immersion systems and medical applications. He received a Ph.D. in 1975 from the University of Utah. For more information, please visit BeingThere Center UNC.

Adrian Ilie (Software Designer) is a Senior Researcher in the UNC Computer Science Department, where he received his PhD in 2010 and worked on projects spanning areas from computer graphics, vision and networking to robotics. His current research is in various TelePresence modalities. He also runs a small software company in Chapel Hill. Learn more at or